Culture and Personality

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It’s great to see some debate on the subject of NZ’s innovation mindset, with both an article recently in Unlimited (by Maria Slade, view it here online), and a good discussion on the New Zealand Innovation group on LinkedIn, sparked by a great piece in Idealog from Louise Webster. One key question seems to be ‘to what extent’ in New Zealand’s traditional ‘No.8 Wire’ mindset helping or hindering our advances in innovation.

As we’ve written in our blog before, and also outlined during a TEDx speech, we believe that the No.8 Wire mentality has been a great benefit to NZ, but is no longer sufficient. However, the answer doesn’t lie in completely eschewing the approach, rather in enhancing it to add it a more contemporary view. Examples such as HaloIPT and PowerByProxi (which Slade quotes in her article) are showing us the way, as we outline in the book and in our talks. Indeed, it seems that Slade’s article is arguing precisely the same point we are, when she talks about it being a ‘priceless jewel that now just needs making into jewellery’ – in other words, as we put it,  ‘re-wiring’.

The one part of the article, and that of the LinkedIn discussion, that perhaps would benefit from further examination and data is our assertion that, at least in part, this is a cultural mindset. This is not uniquely our view – we’d point you to research done by Tony Smale in the New Zealand Science Review in 2013, on the cultural aspects of innovation performance; and also to work from Dave Winsborough of the Winsborough Group, asking if Culture matters in leadership (spoiler: it does). In this short ebook version, Winsborough shows that Kiwi leaders are different that others, with some marked divergences from a norm sample of thousands of personality profiles using the well known Hogan assessment model.

 ‘No.8 Wire’ is a mindset, a unique way of thinking and a tenacity which is impressive. However, while these sort of attributes are great for starting things, they are not great for completing, and growing. That’s the core of our argument in No.8 Re-wired.